Everton Preview: Win or Season Hits The Skids

So, the last Premier League game of the season is here. Do or die, as the willing hyperbole of English football tells us. Arsenal need, first and foremost, to win and then hope Liverpool’s wretched run of home form continues once again.

A collective sigh of relief would exhale as the usual Round of Sixteen exit can take place. While the denigration of the Europa League continues unabated, some had better get used to eating sausages this summer; there’s a shortage of caviar about.

Everton will finish seventh, irrespective of the result but that doesn’t mean they will make it easy to win. I suspect the only thing which exceeds their dislike of neighbours, Liverpool, is their personal pride. The Toffees have been durable opponents in the past and will no doubt be the same today.

Some continue to believe in miracles but the reality of the club’s situation is that the top four finishes eulogised by Arsène in the past, have come to an end. It’s not quite what Ivan had in mind but Wenger has proven to be a catalyst for change after all.

According to ‘reports’, the new contract is being announced after the cup final; Arsène has told “associates” that’s the case, according to Jonathan Norcroft in this morning’s Sunday Times.

The elephant in the room this afternoon is not just the future of the club and Wenger, but also the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil at the club. So many elephants, it makes you wonder if there’s enough room for the match on the pitch.

Days In Europa League

There is no doubt that keeping Alexis will be the toughest task this summer. Selling the Europa League as a blip won’t be that simple so one way of soothing the conversation will be signing new players.

Quick, decisive action; everything we are not noted for. Show the player that the problems are being addressed and that’s half the battle with someone who wants to win trophies, or compete at the very least.

The criticism of Sanchez earlier this season – led by Wenger – is that the player didn’t work hard enough for the team, that he was playing more for himself than the club. Those same can be levelled at the manager over his own future, and probably during the coming summer as well.

What we need to happen and what will, are most definitely two different things.

With Özil, the conversation is most likely down to cash. The Telegraph reports only Fenerbahce and China are showing their hand as interested parties; how his stock has fallen. Maybe not that far but none the less, he isn’t being heavily linked with anyone so options are thin on the ground.

On the future of the club itself, the broadsheets are in general consensus with no-one expecting Kroenke to sell. “Victoria Concordia Crescit” no longer appears on the club crest; it’s being replaced by “As You Were”. Islington council denied reports that a blue plaque commemorating the passing of Arsenal’s title ambitions, is being sited at Highbury.

Hope that these turbulent times will change Kroenke’s outlook seem forlorn. This is a man whose ambition doesn’t extend beyond working for the yankee dollar. His sporting franchises in the US are, for the most part, mediocre in terms of sporting achievement. Making money for him, despite an utter lack of success.

The Absolute Game

It’s why he won’t sell Arsenal just yet. There are more avenues to exploit, e.g. streaming fixtures, as well as a potential European League; there’s just too much money to be made.

All of which almost passes this fixture by. Wenger needs a strong team to win today, contradicting and over-riding any ambitions toward next weekend. He won’t unduly hurry to bring back the injured, meaning Laurent Koscielny will likely miss out today. Nacho Monreal is expected to shuffle across to complete a back three with Gabriel joining the starting line-up.

The only other question is who to start up front. I’d argue Danny Welbeck is better suited to stretching the Everton defence but I suspect Giroud will start. Arsène digs the whole loyalty to the players gig.

Which leaves the starting line-up:

Cech; Gabriel, Holding, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Gibbs; Özil, Sanchez; Welbeck

It’s a good enough XI to win the game and I expect us to, 2 – 0.

Finally, there’s a new Record of the Week at Dad’s Jukebox – with a football-related theme.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

205 thoughts on “Everton Preview: Win or Season Hits The Skids

  1. andy1886 says:


    Need a striker? Check. One of the world’s richest clubs? Check. Ambitious? Errr, sadly not. I know one ‘big’ club that wouldn’t even try to get Kane.

    I agree that Wenger just doesn’t seem to get it. Would you bet against us starting the season unprepared just as we have many times before? (ultimately it cost us last time out). The idea that we should hold out to save a few quid yet drop points always was insane. Now that the fans will have an even shorter fuse doing something similar could as you say result in a brutally toxic atmosphere from match day one.

  2. Wailesy says:

    How the board can sit back and allow Wenger to speak this amount of shite is unbelievable. Embarrassing.

    Wenger struggled to get signings even with the promise of CL , who’s he going to attract without it?

    Every club in world football. Please

  3. Damon says:

    Thing is Andy, baring a handful of players, whoever he signs, I think will create further division among the fans.

    Those that think he should go will say that he shouldn’t spend the money that a new broom could use. The in camp will say get behind the team and the manager, we’ve got new signings so give them a chance.

    I can only see it ending really, really badly now I’m afraid.

    On Kane, I wouldn’t be surprised if United or Chelsea went for him. Madrid? PSG?

  4. Bufallo says:

    As the fella from Arsenal tv said yesterday in the link i posted, you could give wenger a trillion pounds, wouldn’t make any bloody difference but the bit about the interview i really liked is when he tore into the board and the arrogance of their silence as the club floundered and the fans begged for answers and some direction. He is, and dont let any pathetic pr sway you in the coming weeks, a total highwayman….he will never do anything for arsenal than try and make money from it. Give him the full treatment at wembley, he’s nothing but a common thief ! Fam !
    Highest price in the world for europe league and 5th place – it is not even debatable that stan is milking the fans….disgusting dont stand for it

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